Courtesy Reuters

Soviet Policy in the Developing Countries

The recent journey of Nikita Khrushchev to the United Arab Republic, and the more extensive travels of Chou En-lai to Asian and African countries, have pointed up the new context of an old dilemma of Soviet and, more generally, of Communist policy. Should Communists-in-power give vigorous political, economic and strategic backing to non-Communist and nationalist régimes in order to strengthen them and thus weaken the "imperialist bloc?" Or will this strategy lead, through the development of effective non- Communist régimes, to blocking the spread of Communism? Or would it be more profitable in the long run for Moscow and Peking to direct their support only to avowed or potential supporters of Communist doctrine and revolutions?

The Western philosophy of aid to newly independent countries rests on the assumption that nationalist régimes, preferably with a strong emphasis on economic and cultural development, offer to "new" or "old-new" nations the best and probably the only workable alternative to Communism. And this assumption has recently received unexpected support from the Chinese Communist leadership in its polemics with Moscow, even though its day-to- day practice is not very different from the Soviet one.

From the beginning of Soviet rule in Russia the question of the proper posture toward developing countries called for an urgent answer. Faced by the same dilemma as Khrushchev confronts today, Lenin gave different answers in different situations, but from 1921 he opted for a cautious policy of support for nationalist but non-Communist régimes. In the "semi- colonial" (an adjective now discarded in favor of "developing") countries it was essential, he maintained, to strengthen the forces of national independence even though, according to Marxist terminology, they were working for "bourgeois" revolutions. This policy, Lenin asserted, would help undermine the economic foundations of imperialism through depriving the metropoles of markets and investments, and would speed the progress of awakening countries from "feudalism" into and through the stage of "bourgeois-democratic" revolution.

Lenin's decision, however distasteful to his revolutionary hopes, to strengthen

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